Bob Amster

Principal, Retail Technology Group

Mr. Amster has served the retail and distribution industries as both a Consultant and Systems Manager since 1971. He currently heads The Retail Technology Group, an independent consulting firm.

Bob was a Senior Manager with the Northeast Retail Consulting Group of Ernst & Young. Prior to joining Ernst & Young, Mr. Amster held Systems Management positions for large retailers such as Kmart Apparel, Waldenbooks, and Caldor. In addition, he has consulted to retail, distribution, and software companies since 1985.

Bob’s hands-on experience encompasses strategic planning; operational reviews; and systems design and implementation. He specializes in needs assessments; software analyses, selection and implementation; operational procedures and process improvement; and systems integration. His project experience includes numerous engagements in the evaluation, selection and implementation of merchandising, financial, warehouse and store systems packages.

Additionally, Bob has served as interim head of IT for Barneys New York and Shane Company, and as interim head of the Store Systems Group for Savers, Inc.

Bob also has provided due diligence assistance to a number of private equity firms and has served the advisory board of retailers and of a number of e-commerce merchants, to whom he provided retail industry perspective.

  • Posted on: 10/22/2019

    What should retailers do when brands post fake reviews?

    All this is good but it doesn't answer the question of, what should the retailer do? Retailers have options: stop buying the product, issue stern warnings to suppliers, or hope that the fake (positive) reviews bring in more customers and smile all the way to the bank (which is not the ethical solution).
  • Posted on: 10/22/2019

    Can b8ta do for fashion what it’s done for consumer tech?

    Many businesses - not necessarily retailers - test concepts and products so this is a good concept. However, depending on the type of fashion being tested, one would think that fast fashion is not a candidate because it could take longer to test than to launch. For longer-lasting or staple products, the concept can be a very efficient and effective way to bring products to market that will actually succeed and eliminate those that would not have succeeded.
  • Posted on: 10/16/2019

    Will shoe swapping be the new shoe shopping?

    Good luck with that one! Of course, I am a man so, what do I know about shoes...?
  • Posted on: 10/14/2019

    Is BOPIS a good fit for Dollar General?

    I agree that this is the specific reason that BOPIS makes sense for Dollar General. Let the customer do the work and save Dollar General the money!
  • Posted on: 10/14/2019

    REI ventures into drop shipping

    Any product category that involves color and size permutations is a candidate for vendor-direct drop shipping. The vendors should have a wider assortment, access, or resources to fulfill a customer order for a specific SKU. The next best recourse is for the retailer to locate the SKU in another store and have it shipped from there.
  • Posted on: 10/10/2019

    Personalized promos add up to a ‘win-win’ for retailers and consumers

    The probability of personalized pricing is medium and the results will be outrage by the consuming public.
  • Posted on: 10/10/2019

    Will becoming a UPS pickup/drop off point drive craft sales at Michaels?

    The key is the same as it is in the case of Amazon and Kohl's. The increased traffic and the consequent incremental sales to those customers that came in to use the service. It could very well work. It could also prove too expensive to run.
  • Posted on: 10/08/2019

    Are legacy CPG brands just naturally digitally-challenged?

    It is a complex question to answer. If a traditional CPG has been selling successfully through the retail channels, and every consumer knows the brands (they've been around for 100 years), is it imperative that they try to fend off newcomers to the market? Do CPG companies have to sell online and thus compete with their retailer customers? I think not.
  • Posted on: 10/08/2019

    Walmart sells ModCloth, seeks Jetblack spinoff and cuts Bonobos jobs

    Walmart is refining its online niche. Some of these acquisitions were never right for the quintessential Walmart customer. Fortunately for Walmart, it had the deep pockets to experiment and the long-term results won't be heavily impacted. I still question why they made those investments in the first place.
  • Posted on: 10/07/2019

    Best Buy makes a big bet on health tech

    In the immortal words of that great sage Freddie Mercury: "We are the Champions, my friend!" (The geezers, that is!)
  • Posted on: 10/07/2019

    Should Amazon rent out its Just Walk Out tech?

    The question is: Is there more money for Amazon in renting the technology - as in the AWS case - or in keeping it to itself as long as possible in an effort to keep the competitive advantage?
  • Posted on: 10/07/2019

    Should Amazon rent out its Just Walk Out tech?

    Unless retailer renters of the technology stipulate in their contracts with Amazon Go that data processed by Amazon is not usable by Amazon, but only by the retailer renting the technology.
  • Posted on: 10/07/2019

    Best Buy makes a big bet on health tech

    The move makes sense. Best Buy sells electronics (mostly) for the home. The new category of health tech is complementary to others in the Best Buy assortment. The only question is whether or not the demographics of the CE products are the same as that of health tech. If you sell it, will they come?
  • Posted on: 10/04/2019

    Should companies have to pay you to use your personal data?

    The question can be posed: do the data that one provides to a business become part of the public domain or is the provider entrusting those data to the recipient only, with no right to share it? If warnings are issued to the individual before the fact, then the consumer can opt to not provide the data or, given a choice, can request that data not be shared. If the product or service provider does not offer those choices, we can go do business with another business.
  • Posted on: 10/03/2019

    Zulily thinks it can beat Amazon and Walmart on price

    There is little new under the sun, just prettier packaging, smaller, faster, cheaper. First there were smoke signals, now there is the Apple (Dick Tracy) Watch...

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